Thirty activists from the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) have been charged and kept in jail over planned pro-democracy protests in Malaysia on July 9.
Altogether, the TheStar.com.my said on June 30 police arrested 101 people nation-wide in a preemptive move against the July 9 "Bersig 2.0" demonstrations, which have been declared illegal. The article said 45 were still detained.
There are reports PSM members have been mistreated in prison. The Malaysia Chronicle said on June 29: "14 of its [PSM's] women members detained in a recent crackdown have been 'kicked on the legs', 'pushed and spat on', told to drink water from the toilet bowl and forced to change clothes in front of male officers."
The PSM released a sttement on July 1 that said "finally after 4 days of pressure, the police finally allowed visitation rights for the family" the previous day".
"During this visitation the detainees informed that they were harrased and mentally tortured."
The statement said forms of abuse suffered by detained PSM members included solitary confinement, denial of legal representation, denial of needed medication, verbal abuse, denial of sufficient drinking water and other basic goods such as soap and toothpaste.
A veteran Filipino socialist, Party of the Labouring Masses deputy general secretary Romy Castillo, who was visiting Malaysia and the PSM, was also arrested and remained in custody as of July 1 (with Malay authorities failing to follow through with plans to deport him).
The PSM is a legal party with two members of parliament. The largest left-wing group in Malaysia, its members are heavily involved in a wide-range of campaigns for democratic rights and for the rights of workers and the poor.
Below is an appeal for solidarity. Details of protests planned protests in solidarity with those arrested across Australia are at the bottom. Malaysians around the world are also planning to stage protests to coincide with the Bersig 2.0 marches, including around Australia. Details can be found here.
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Dear friends and comrades
We have received an urgent appeal for solidarity from the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) following the arrest and detention of 30 of their members including Member of Parliament Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj and several other leading members.
They were arrested while conducting a peaceful nation-wide bus tour calling for the ruling Barisan Nasional government (which has run the country since independence) to retire. For background see Malaysia: Government arrests socialists ahead of Bersih 2.0 pro-democracy rally.
A copy of a letter of protest I have sent on behalf of the Socialist Alliance can be read here.
Details of solidarity actions in Australia that you can join and promote are here
National Convenor Socialist Alliance (Australia)
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URGENT APPEAL : 28 JUNE 2011
CRACKDOWN ON MALAYSIAN SOCIALISTS:
30 PSM ACTIVISTS CHARGED UNDER ABSURD SECTION 122 – WAGING WAR AGAINST THE KING
30 Activists from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) including two juveniles have been charged under Section 122 of the Penal Code (waging war against the Monarch and trying to revive the communist ideology ) and are remanded for 7 days for practicing their freedom of expression. If they are charged under this section, then they will be denied bail.
The group were arrested on the 25th June at Kepala Batas, Penang while they were distributing leaflets to inform the public of the Udahlah-Bersaralah ("It is Enough, Time to Retire") national awareness campaign that the PSM recently conducted from 24 to 26 June 2011.
The news of PSM trying to revive communism was based on common t-shirts of left leaders found in the bus carrying the PSM activists.
The news that PSM was trying to revive communism was the major story in all the local mainstream media and is meant to create fear of an imaginary enemy -- a tactic used commonly in the past to crackdown on activists.
Among those arrested are PSM National Deputy Chairperson M.Saraswathy and PSM Member of Parliament Dr. Jeyakumar Devaraj.
The following are the PSM activists arrested.
7 detained at the Penang Police Headquaters are:
1. Dr, Jeyakumar – PSM’s sole Member of Parliament
2. Choo Chon Kai – PSM International Coordinator
3. Selvam (bus driver)
4. Letchumanan- PSM Sg. Siput Branch Secretary
5. M.Sarasvathy – PSM National Deputy Chairperson
6. Chong Moi
7. Soh Sook Hwa – PSM Central Committtee Member
The remaining are being held at Kepala Batas detention centre :
8. M.Sukumaran – PSM Central Committee Member
14. Ravindran - PSM Youth Secretary
16. Thivya Kumar
19. Wong Mei Yong
22. Remy - Tanjung Malim Branch Chairperson
23. Saratbabu - PSM Youth Chairperson
24. Gana - Buntong Branch Chairperson
25. Sivoosamy - Bercham Branch Secretary
The PSM condemns the charges by the government who is trying to implicate PSM in waging a war against the King and reviving the old Malayan Communist Party. This big blatant lie is used on the 30 PSM activists who were involved in the "It is Enough, Time to Retire" national awareness campaign by PSM held from the 24th-26th June 2011. The activists who were supposed to be released unconditionally have been remanded for 7 days under Penal Code Section 122 that is waging a war against the King.
The statement by the police and the accusation by the current government on the PSM activists is baseless, absurd and politically motivated. Thus PSM demands the government to stop all this nonsense, release the detainees and apologise to the PSM on its baseless accusation.
PSM feels it is rather hilarious that the government tries to connect PSM with Communists just by finding a few t-shirts that have communist leader images. These t-shirts are sold very openly and anyone can buy it without any problems.
Moreover the government of Malaysia has political and diplomatic ties with the Communist Party of China, Cuba, Vietnam and many other countries.
Besides that, it must be pointed out that the Malaysian government has signed the peace agreement with the MCP in 1989 and also senior communist leaders like Rashid Maidin, Suriani dan Abdullah CD have had a royal audience with the DYMM Sultan Azlan Shah. Thus, bringing back the communist bogeyman in the post cold war era is a desperate move by the UMNO–BN regime to continue to cling in power while instilling fear among the people and to justify the use of the draconian [Internal security Act] ISA.
PSM is a registered party who is doing legal (above ground) activities and is well known and a popular party. PSM has always acknowledged the contribution of the left parties in the struggle for independence such as PKMM, API, AWAS and the MCP (PKM). This recognition of these left parties by the PSM cannot be narrowly interpreted that the party is trying to revive the MCP.
The media controlled by UMNO-BN has highlighted this accusation to scare people away from the Bersih 2.0 rally scheduled for July 9th. PSM supports the Bersih 2.0 rally, even though the "It is Enough, Time to Retire" BN Campaign has got nothing to do with Bersih 2.0 rally. However police are trying to make a connection between the both so that they can stop the Bersih 2.0 rally.
PSM is aware that the action against the PSM is a systematically planned action by the police to create an imaginary enemy with the intention to create an ”Emergency” environment where the government can justify the use of the ISA as well as do a massive crackdown to stop the Bersih 2.0 rally on 9th of July which is gaining momentum and mass support by the people.
The recent police action on PSM will not stop us from continuing our struggle and fight for the rights of the workers and people.
We seek solidarity locally and Internationally. PSM is currently the sole socialist mass movement in the country and we will continue this great struggle.
Long Live Socialism!
Long Live the PSM!
Released by S.Arutchelvan
National Secretary General
Parti Sosialis Malaysia
What can you do?
Urgent action needed:
Please write protest letters to the government and the police to express your strongest condemnation of the arrests and the crackdown on the PSM activists. Please also demand the Malaysian government to release all the Activists to continue and respect the freedom of expression as stated in Article 10 of Federal Constitution. Please demand the Government to stop the crackdown on PSM and the absurd allegations leveled against it.
[Letterhead of your organisation]
1. Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak,
Prime Minister of Malaysia,
Prime Minister's Office,
Main Block, Perdana Putra Building,
Federal Government Administrative Centre,
62502 Putrajaya , MALAYSIA
Tel: 603-8888 8000
Fax: 603-8888 3444
Re: Release all those detained and stop on- going crackdown on Malaysian socialists
We are writing to you, to express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over your government's on-going crackdown and the arrest of the 30 PSM Activists.
We are appalled by your government and the police's latest actions and view this as an attempt by your government to intimidate Malaysian citizens from exercising their civil and political rights
We further demand that your government stops the assault on freedom of expression and release all the 30 PSM Activists immediately.
1. Inspector-General of Police
Tan Sri Ismail Omar,
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: +603 2262 6015
Fax: +603 2272 5613
2. Tan Sri Hasmy Agam,
Malaysian Human Rights Commission,
Level 11, Menara TH Perdana,
Jalan Sultan Ismail,
50250 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03 26125600
Fax: 03 26125620
3. Mr. Frank La Rue
Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Fax: +41 22 917 9006
4. Ms. Margaret Sekaggya,
Special Rapporteur on the situation on human rights defenders,
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Christine Chung,
Human Rights Officer,
Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights,
Asia Pacific Section, Asia Pacific and Middle East Branch,
Field Operation & Technical Cooperation,
OHCHR- Palais Wilson,
United Nationas Office at Geneva,
CH-1211 Geneva 10,
Tel: +41 (0) 229289673
Fax: +41 (0) 22928 9018
For Further Information
Facebook: Parti Sosialis Malaysia
Twitter: @partisosialis or #udahlah
Protests in Australia
Details of Australian protests against detention of Malaysian activists
Please join these emergency solidarity actions to demand release of 30 Malaysian Socialist Party(PSM)members and 14 other oppositionists arrested in Malaysia over last few days in the lead up to a big Bersih 2.0pro-democracy rally planned for July 9 in Kuala Lumpur.
Activists are being arrested for peaceful protests, having political t-shirts and banners and, ridiculously, accused of armed rebellion against the king!
For more information contact Mark Goudkamp 0422078376 or Peter Boyle 0401760577.
Friday July 1, 4.30-5.30pm
Outside Malaysian Airlines (MAS) Sydney offices, 16 Spring Street, Corner Pitt Street Sydney.
Brisbane: Friday, July 1, 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Outside Malaysian Consulate, 239 George Street, Brisbane.
Melbourne: Tuesday 5 July, 12.30-1.30pm
Malaysian Airlines, Nauru House,corner Russell & Collins Street, Melbourne.
Bersih 2.0 support actions in Australia:
Date: July 9
Venue: Victoria Square, Adelaide (opposite Hilton Adelaide, near the Victoria water fountains)
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=115134585242627
Date: July 9
Venue: Brisbane Square
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=164833410249161
Date: July 9
Venue: Parliament Front Entrance
Event page - http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=197771980273705
Date: July 9
Venue: Federation Square
Facebook Event Page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=193179104064996
Date: July 9
Venue: Malaysian Consulate-General, 252 Adelaide Terrace, Perth, Australia
Event page - http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=125777650841738
Date: July 9
Venue: Sydney CBD Town Hall